red cabbage radiccio isolated on white

Radicchio is not Ridiculous

Think of the person you know that loves using puns even though most of the time they are not very good, at all. Well, this just happened.

“I can speak Spanish.”
“Really. I was not aware.”
“My arm is ‘a Brussel Sprout-o’”
“No. No. The correct word is ‘a brazo’. You’re ridiculous.”
“But at least I’m not Radicchio.”
“What? Is that Spanish?”

Apparently radicchio, which is Italian not Spanish, is a type of beautiful lettuce. When I looked up images of fresh radicchio, it reminded me of red cabbage. So how do I know the difference when I go to the store? The writers at Food Blogga have been in this same predicament.

“Red cabbage and radicchio may resemble one another, but when it comes to flavor, they’re as different as traditional broccoli and bitter broccoli rabe. So what is the difference between radicchio and red cabbage?
Radicchio (pronounced ra-DEEK-ee-o) is a leafy member of the chicory family, often called Italian chicory, which explains its bold, bitter flavor. Although it’s compact like red cabbage, radicchio’s leaves are thinner and more tender unlike red cabbage’s firm and waxy texture.
Red Cabbage is a variety of cabbage with reddish purple leaves. It’s flavor and texture is similar to green cabbage.

Here’s how to tell the difference between radicchio and red cabbage:
Radicchio is burgundy-red with white streaks. It’s light when you hold it in your hand and soft to the touch.
Red Cabbage is actually more purple than red and is uniform in color. It’s heavy, firm, and has a waxy finish.
Both have their places in the kitchen, but just remember, they are not interchangeable. Red cabbage is best in slaws or simply slow-cooked and served with pork or beef. Radicchio is wonderful raw in salads, grilled and used as pizza topping or sauteed and tossed with pasta.”

Yummy! What a delightful idea! As the comedian Brian Regan says, “How do I get that goodness in me?

Unbeknownst to me, there is a lot of goodness in radicchio. Dove Med lists seven but here are the ones I found most interesting.

Radicchio can help promote better eye health. Although radicchio contains very low amounts of vitamin A, it possesses a high amount of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, such as zeaxanthin and lutein. One hundred grams of the leaves provide 8832 micrograms of these compounds. Zeaxanthin concentrates mainly in the central retina in the eyes. Together with lutein, it helps protect eyes from age related macular disease by filtering harmful ultraviolet rays.
Radicchio can contribute to assist in weight loss. Radicchio is low in calories while making consumers feel fuller without consuming more calories. One cup of radicchio contains only nine calories. This is a great food to eat to help one lose weight.
Radicchio can help lower your blood pressure. Radicchio contains the phytonutrients lycopene, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Studies have shown to decrease the systolic blood pressure – the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Radicchio also contains much more potassium than sodium. Potassium contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels while maintaining proper blood flow.
Radicchio can help your bones stay healthy and strong. One cup of radicchio contains 128 percent of the needed vitamin K. Adequate vitamin K consumption acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, preventing bone loss and osteoporosis.
Radicchio may contribute to improving your thinking ability. Several components of radicchio, such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants are known to provide neurological benefits. Folate has been known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Potassium has been linked to increased blood flow to the brain and enhance cognition, concentration, and neural activity. One cup of radicchio contains 6 percent of the recommended daily needs of folate.

Weight loss, lower blood pressure, thinking better, I’m Sold! What scrumptious dish is on the menu?

Melissa Clark suggests Grilled Sausages & Radicchio

The Spruce has these recipes:
-Simple Radicchio Salad
-Radicchio Salad with Green Olive Dressing
-Radicchio Hazelnut Blue Cheese Salad
-Sautéed Radicchio
-Radicchio Risotto

Whichever way you decide to prepare Radicchio, remember to Eat, Live & GoFresh!